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szdaily -> Speak Shenzhen -> 
France faces foie gras crisis
    2022-05-13  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

Fois gras, the French culinary jewel that is as delicious as it is controversial, is a staple of upscale restaurants across the country. But now it’s vanishing from menus during an “unprecedented” crisis that has seen some manufacturers begin to consider reducing portions.

At the heart of the problem is a bird flu epidemic that has been sweeping across the country — and Europe — for months. It’s already devastated the country’s poultry industry, but now it threatens one of the country’s greatest bastions: its Michelin-starred restaurants.

“It’s been a month since we started to have less foie gras, and then this week we got none,” says Pascal Lombard, the chef and owner of Le 1862, a one Michelin-star restaurant in bucolic southwestern France.

Foie gras is no stranger to crises.

Its traditional production, involving the force feeding of geese and ducks, has long attracted condemnation from animal rights campaigners, who have succeeded in getting such methods banned elsewhere.

While French appetites for the delicacy have been largely undimmed by concerns over animal cruelty, another threat to avian welfare is now curbing consumption.

The town of Les Eyzies, where Lombard’s restaurant is located, is in the heart of Périgord, one of the epicenters of the latest bird flu.

The country has had to kill 16 million poultry since the epidemic started in November 2021 to try to control the disease, the French Agriculture Ministry confirmed.

“This number is unprecedented for France, which had never been exposed to a crisis of such scale,” said Marie-Pierre Pé, director of France’s interprofessional committee for foie gras producers.

Foie gras production in France is expected to drop by up to 50% this year as the epidemic affects 80% of foie gras producers in the country.

A veteran of the foie gras industry with 35 years of experience, Pé is no stranger to avian influenza. Like seasonal outbreaks in the human world, bird flu hits Europe almost every year when birds migrate to and from Africa.

This year the epidemic emerged in spring and reached the Pays de la Loire region in the west and Périgord territory in the southwest — two crucial poultry production areas in France. Pays de la Loire alone represents 72% of the ducks and geese hatched in France’s foie gras industry.

To make matters worse, other major foie gras producing countries in Europe are also facing a similar crisis, making it hard to make up for the shortfall via imports.

Bird flu has been detected across the European Union since October 2021, according to the latest European Commission report on the epidemic.

Words to Learn 相关词汇

【史无前例的】shǐwú qiánlì de unprecedented new, unfamiliar, unheard-of

【田园风光的】 tiányuán fēngguāng de bucolic relating to or typical of rural life

法国富有争议的珍馐美食鹅肝酱是法国各地高级餐厅的主打菜品,但如今鹅肝酱却要从菜单上消失了,因为一场“史无前例的”危机正迫使一些鹅肝酱生产商考虑减少供货量。

这一危机的源头是几个月来一场席卷法国各地和欧洲其他国家的禽流感。这场禽流感已经击垮了法国的养禽业,但现在禽流感威胁到了法国最大的美食阵地之一 —— 米其林餐厅。

法国西南部乡间的米其林餐厅Le 1862的主厨兼老板帕斯卡尔•隆巴德说:“我们鹅肝酱减量供应已经有一个月了,这周我们完全没有鹅肝酱了。”

这并不是鹅肝酱第一次面临危机。

鹅肝酱的传统生产方式,包括填鸭式喂养鸭鹅,长期以来一直受到动物权益倡导人士的谴责,受其影响其他一些地方已经摒弃了这种喂养方式。

尽管大多数法国人对鹅肝酱的好胃口没有因为虐待动物的担忧而受到影响,眼下家禽健康面临的另一个威胁却抑制了法国人对鹅肝酱的消费。

隆巴德的餐厅所在的莱塞济镇位于佩里戈尔的中心地带,而佩里戈尔是最近的一波禽流感疫情的中心之一。

法国农业部证实,2021年11月首次暴发禽流感之时,为了控制疫情法国被迫宰杀了1600万只家禽。

法国鹅肝酱生产商专业委员会主任玛丽-皮埃尔•佩说:“宰杀的家禽数量在法国是史无前例的,法国从来没有经历过这么大规模的家禽危机。”

由于疫情影响到了法国80%的鹅肝酱生产商,法国的鹅肝酱产量预计今年将减少达50%。作为一位拥有35年经验的鹅肝酱产业老将,佩对禽流感并不陌生。就和人类世界的季节性流感一样,几乎每年在飞鸟自非洲迁徙往来时欧洲都会暴发禽流感。今年春季禽流感在法国暴发后已蔓延至法国西部的卢瓦尔河地区和法国西南部的佩里戈尔,这两地都是法国的家禽主产区。单是卢瓦尔河地区就出产了法国鹅肝酱产业所需的72%的鸭鹅。

雪上加霜的是,欧洲其他的鹅肝酱高产国也面临着同样的危机,这让法国无法通过进口来填补鹅肝酱缺口。根据欧盟关于禽流感的最新报告,自2021年10月以来欧盟各国相继发现禽流感。

(chinadaily.com.cn)

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